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To many of us living in the modern era, we forget what it was like back 100 years ago, barn raisings were common place for many farmers that needed to construct large barns. It took massive amounts of man power and non electric tools and saws to do the work all by hand.

Today Barn Raisings are still commonplace among the conservative Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites. However today it depends on where you are in the country some Old Order Mennonite Groups allow its members to have electricity and some do not. While Old Order Amish are not allowed to have electricity.

Just stop to think of all the things we take for granted in our daily lives, and how it would be today to live without any electricity at all, not only what that would mean on the farm in daily life as in a barn raising and how much more work and labor that would require.

Think how much effort it would be in the kitchen to fix food for all those men building the barn, albeit done in quite a few kitchens and brought to the home of the barn raising, still a lot of work even today, hot summer day, with gas stoves fired up and in some cases wood ranges fired up fixing food for up to 200 men.

Now the following list of foods needed to feed 175 men was taken from the Mennonite Community Cookbook copyright 1950 by Mary Emma Showalter, a great cookbook and very well used in my home.!!


115 Lemon Pies

500 Doughnuts

15 Large Cakes

3 gallons Applesauce

3 gallons Rice Pudding

3 gallons Cornstarch Pudding

16 Chickens

3 Hens

3 Hams

50 pounds Roast Beef

300 Light Rolls

16 Loaves Fresh Bread

Red Beet Pickle and Pickled Eggs

Cucumber Pickles

6 pounds Dried Prunes-Stewed

1 large crock Stewed Raisins

5 gallon stone jar White Potatoes

5 gallon stone jar Sweet Potatoes

While today the menu would look totally different, I am sure what this list does not include is the gallons and gallons of Iced Tea, Water, Lemonade and Coffee that would be served throughout the day also.

The massive amount of work in the simple kitchens of the Amish and Mennonites in many ways is equal to that of the man power to raise a huge barn in  a  single day!!

However it is through the Christian Spirit and fellowship of community, and willingness to help each other during times of great need that this tradition lives on today in modern times. Rarely seen in many communities where most people do not even know who their neighbors are. That is the one sad fact of our world today, we don’t even know our neighbors.

Tomorrows Post – Slow Roasted Pulled Pork BBQ (looking at me right now cooling off in the pan, but too late to post today.